This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Nectar Flow Is Over, Robbing Is Starting

The nectar flow is over for most of us.
 I have heard that robbing is happening to some beekeepers.
   For honeybees, robbing starts with the end of the nectar flow. Robbing from wasps and hornets starts usually around mid to late August.
 Robbing can be a serious issue for beekeepers. The thieves will try to sneak into a hive and take all the food stores. A beekeeper can have a full hive of winter stores and after a week or so of robbing, all of a sudden six frames of honey are gone and emergency feeding is needed to get the food stores back into the hive.
 Robbers can also overcome and weaken or kill colonies to get at their food. The robbers can be your own bees or the neighbors bees.
 What can we do to prevent robbing?
Robbing Screen, are used to prevent robbing. A screened entrance with three entrances. Two doors with metal swing doors to reduce the available entrance. A third entrance at the top of the Robbing screen, that is a smaller entrance with a metal door. There is a metal plate that can be seen on the left side of the screen. This prevents bees from figuring out the top entrance. The robbing screen is attached to the front of the hive by nails, screws or a strap around the hive.

  • Never put open honey or syrup near your hives. After extracting never put wet supers near your hives. The bees will clean them out, but when the supers are clean the robbers will want more. So the robbers now move to your hive. The beekeeper may have a dead hive soon. If you want bees to clean up wet supers, put them on top of the inner cover. The bees will go up through the inner cover hole and clean up the honey and bring it down into the brood box. This prevents getting the robbing started.
  • Robbing at a hive entrance looks like like a frenzy of activity. If you see this frenzy, you need to react to this. If you are not treating with Formic Acid you can put in an entrance reducer at its smallest opening. If you are treating with Formic Acid and have robbing, a robbing screen is a good alternative.  
  •  Keep all syrup inside a hive where it is not available to robbers. Make sure pails are not leaking. When using Hive top feeders,  a rock should be placed on top of the telescoping covers so bees can't sneak under the cover to get to the syrup
Robbing will lessen with cooler temperatures, when the weather limits daytime flying time. A hard freeze will help with the elimination of the wasp and hornets. But for now watch out, the bandits want your food.